Author interview swap with J Keller Ford

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Today, I have with me J Keller Ford, author of the Chronicles of Fallhollow series.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

OMGosh, I would so eat dinner with Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I adore seafood, and who wouldn’t love that spectacular view from the Nautilus while eating mammoth lobsters!

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

You know, I’ve actually given this a lot of thought and here’s what I have as of today. It could change at any minute. J

Katharine Hope as Queen Mysterie

David Wenham as Sir Trogsdill

Kate Winslet as Slavandria

Paul Rudd as Seyekrad

Craig Parker as King Gildore

Liam Hemsworth as David

Alexandra Daddario as Charlotte

Ian Somerhalder as Eric

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I loved the Victorian era. I’d want to walk among the elites in Europe and would have loved to have been a friend/acquaintance of King Ludwig II. The gowns, the music. The castles. The palaces. The balls. Sigh.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?in-the-shadow-of-the-dragon-king-ebook-cover-2700x1800

Travel. See. Do. Experience.

So much of my life I’ve been very conservative, so mindful of what I should be, not what I wanted to be. I think if I could go back and do it all over, I would listen to my heart more. I would have traveled more, seen more, done more and experienced life without feeling so guilty for taking care of me.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I think I’d like to be a tree/forest dryad. I could commune with fairies, imps, and all creatures, great and small. I would have the power to heal the land and nurture nature. It would be such a peaceful existence.

You can find me online at

Twitter:               https://twitter.com/jkellerford
Pinterest:           https://www.pinterest.com/jkellerford24/
blog:                    https://jennykellerford.wordpress.com/
website:              http://www.j-keller-ford.com/

 

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Author Interview Swap with Andrew Buckley

bio-pic-squareTell us about your publishing journey…

I wrote my first novel ‘Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish’ over the course of 6 years. I then spent two years querying agents to no avail. One agent recommended I build an online platform so I reluctantly began my social media journey and, through Twitter, I met my first publisher ‘Curiosity Quills Press.’ I signed 2 novels with CQ before securing an agent, the fantastic Mark Gottlieb at the Trident Media Group in New York. Since then, thanks to Mark and Trident, I’ve published two more books, one with CQ and my latest novel ‘Hair in All the Wrong Places’ with Month9Books.
What do you love about being an author?
I love everything about it. I love that it’s hard work, I love building stories, creating characters, exploring new worlds, and hearing people’s thoughts about my work (good and bad). I’m also keenly drawn to a career where you can work with or without pants.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
It’s probably a terrible choice because he’d likely kill me at the end of the meal but I’d like to chat with Lestat, Anne Rice’s Vampire Prince. I’ve read a lot of Rice’s books over the years and the Lestat character is steeped with so much emotion and experiential layers that he’d be a very interesting person to chat with. And being as it’s my final meal, I’d like Fish and Chips.
If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
Using my latest novel ‘Hair in All the Wrong Places’ as an example, I’m not sure who I’d cast as the leads as they’d be young middle school aged but I’d want to cast Kurt Russell as the older werewolf, Silas Baxter, Kevin Spacey as Mr Winter, and Betty White as Colin’s Grandmother.
Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?
Why can’t they be both?
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?hair-in-all-the-wrong-places
Medieval times! I think the dark ages would be a ton of fun as long I didn’t get run through with a sword or catch dysentery or anything to that effect. I always thought siege warfare was very interesting. People trying to break into castles, the feudal system, all those swords! Although I’m not really partial to horses . . . I may have to reconsider.
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
I’ve been pretty fortunate to have some great advice over my short time on this earth. It would have been good if someone had told me to travel more when I was younger. Once you have kids (I have 3), travelling becomes a whole Oceans 11 bank heist planning experience.
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
Werewolf, obviously a werewolf. Heightened senses and the ability to turn into a giant wolf creature. It would also justify all this hair I have.
Where do you write best? 
In bed, at night, when the household has gone to sleep. I don’t know if that’s the best time but it’s the time I get to write the most. I’m pretty sure any time of day would work if I had the opportunity.
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
I’m currently reading the Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown and it’s AMAZING. Book #1 had a few pacing issues I thought but I couldn’t put book #2 down, and now I’m launching into the third and final book. It’s a great series if you’re looking for a ski-fi with a bit more of an edge to it.
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
I actually write in fantasy, urban fantasy, spy thriller, satire, and paranormal horror already. My foray into writing a spy thriller was my big departure from my usual genre and writing style. I had this concept for a female James Bond character that I wanted to develop. You can find the adventures of Eliana Havelock in the novel ‘Havelock’ by Jane D Everly (I promise it’s really me).
Where can fans find you online?
I’m active on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter, links to which you can find on my author website at www.andrewbuckleyauthor.com

Interview with Jen McConnel

Jen McConnel-0034Tell us about your publishing journey…

I’ve been writing for most of my life, but in 2011, I decided to seriously pursue publication for my work. I self-published my first novel in 2012, which was later acquired by Bloomsbury Spark and re-released in 2013, and my first YA novel came out in earlier this year from Month9Books. My career is absolutely hybrid; I’ve got works with small presses, digital first imprints, and large presses, and I plan to self-publish again in the future, too. It’s a great time to be a writer; there’ve never been more options, and that’s wonderful! 

What do you love about being an author?

It’s so incredibly cool to be able to tell stories. I love playing in my fictional worlds and getting to know my characters! Meeting readers is really awesome, too; I particularly love visiting middle and high schools and connecting with young writers. 

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

I’d love to sit down with Scarlet O’Hara, although we’d probably get into a fight; two strong, opinionated women in one space would either be amazing or disastrous! I’d like to eat whatever she would want to serve. Knowing her, it would be decadent and delicious! 

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

You know, I never know what to do with that question! I honestly haven’t cast any of my novels, but it would be amazing to see them brought to live on film or TV! 

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Classic monsters. DRACULA is one of my favorite books to re-read each fall!

 If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?Daughter of Chaos

 I’m a total history nerd, so it’s nearly impossible to pick just one era. I guess if I knew I could get home whenever I needed, I’d love to pop back to the days of the last Cleopatra and get a glimpse of the fall of Egypt. I’ve always been obsessed with ancient Egypt! 

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

 Just keep writing. Seriously, there’s very little stress in my life that won’t melt away if I keep writing and keep practicing yoga.  

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

 I’d love to be a witch, ala Practical Magic, because, come on! Who doesn’t want to be that cool? 

Where do you write best? 

I tend to fast draft, and lately I’ve been drafting on my laptop at my dining table. When I dig into edits, I work best on my desktop. Sadly, I’ve never been able to write in a coffee shop, although I do love a good Starbucks break whenever I get the chance! 

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

I just finished STOKER’S MANUSCRIPT by Royce Prouty, and I loved it! It was a great gothic read, particularly for fans of the original DRACULA. 

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

Since I write in a lot of genres, I don’t really know how to answer this question! I write YA paranormal, contemporary, and gothic, and I write NA contemporary, mystery, and paranormal. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to try my hand at Sci Fi, but I’m not an avid Sci Fi reader, so I wouldn’t even know where to start!

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.  When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.  Her fiction titles include DAUGHTER OF CHAOS (YA), THE SECRET OF ISOBEL KEY (NA), and the upcoming BEAUTIFUL CURSE (YA). http://www.jenmcconnel.com  to learn more.

 Connect With Jen:

 Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Facebook | Blog | Website |

 

Book Review: Into the Fire by Ashelyn Drake

17452685Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Cara Tillman’s life is a perfectly normal one until Logan Schmidt moves to Ashlan Falls. Cara is inexplicably drawn to him, but she’s not exactly complaining. Logan’s like no boy she’s ever met, and he brings out a side of Cara that she isn’t used to. As the two get closer, everything is nearly perfect, and Cara looks forward to the future.

But Cara isn’t a normal girl. She’s a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical phoenix bird, and her time is running out. Rebirth is nearing, which means she’ll forget her life up to this point—she’ll forget Logan and everything they mean to one another.. But that may be the least of Cara’s problems.

A phoenix hunter is on the loose, and he’s determined to put an end to the lives of people like Cara and her family, once and for all.

About the Author:

Ashelyn Drake is a New Adult and Young Adult romance author. Her debut NA title Campus Crush is now available. She also write YA and MG paranormal under the name Kelly Hashway. Drake is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. For more information about Ashelyn, visit her website at ashelyndrake.wordpress.com.

My Review:

Well, this is the second book about a Phoenix that I’ve read and I must admit that they are a fertile and interesting paranormal aspect. This is YA and definitely ticks all the boxes. I loved the extras added top this lore (I won’t go into them for fear of spoiling the book) and the whole thing was simply a pleasure to read.

From a writer’s perspective, it was written first person from both the girl and the boy’s POV, which usually I hate, but it really worked here and I actually found that it was more interesting this way. My only grips is that it had the whole ‘imprinted’ thing, which I always feel is a bit lazy, as it instantly makes a couple with a strong bond, rather than the reader going on this journey with the characters.

The front cover is beautiful, although the girl doesn’t overly look like Cara, she described as blond with red streaks? This is starting to become a pet peeve with me, when front cover artists don’t read the descriptions of the main characters. It’s a shame, just a change of hairstyle and this would be an amazing cover.

Overall, I’d give Into the Fire 5 out of 5 stars – nothing’s perfect, but this is nearest damn at – for both teen and adult readers.

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Book Review: A Whispered Darkness by Vanessa Barger

20657721Synopsis:

When Claire Mallory’s father leaves, her mom moves them to a new town and into a dilapidated Victorian house.

The old house creaks and whistles, and smells well — like it’s been abandoned for years. But as the nights grow longer and the shadows take on substance, Claire wonders if the strange sounds and occurrences might be more than the house showing its age.

Just as things start to pick up in Claire’s love life, her mother becomes possessed. In an attempt to save her mother and their new home, Claire enlists the help of two boys, each of whom is interested in Claire for different reasons. As she chooses one boy over the other, something dangerous is unleashed, and the spirits make their move.

They aren’t content to moan and scream inside Claire’s house, or even control her mom. They want a taste of freedom, and she’s their key to getting it. But is Claire strong enough to fight off the evil spirits, or will they claim her and her mom before it’s all over?

 About the Author:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and the Virginia Writer’s Club. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.

 http://www.vanessabarger.com

 My Review:

Spirits and ghosts never fail to fascinate me in stories. They are one of the few paranormal entities that are both possible and persistently scare the crap out of me! I used to love ghost stories when I was kid, but not so much when my imagination started rolling them round in my mind in the middle of the night!

This is YA, so not as scary as an adult horror would be, so hit a nice middle ground to be intriguing but not something that stops you turning the light off!

From a writer’s perspective, I found Claire’s voice a little muddled at times. I’m not sure if this was down to a character trait (as it was written first person) or down to the general voice of the author. There were quite a few punctuation errors in there too – now I’m not the be all and end all expert on this matter and some of them might have been down to personal taste, but there were quite a few sentences (especially in the beginning) that were missing commas. Now, this might be more to do with the fact I was given an Advanced Reader Copy – so the final version might prove a little less muddled and with a few more little black wiggles where they are supposed to be.

The story itself was interesting, but the YA aspect again was quite predictable and followed that old tried and tested love triangle, protagonist specialness – which although works, is getting a bit tiresome for me personal. To be honest though, I’m not a teen readers – so not really the target market for this book.

The front cover is beautiful. Month9 seem to always produce fantastic covers and really promote their books – so two spectral thumbs up for that.

Overall, I’d give Whispers 3 out of 5 stars for an adult reader and 4 out of 5 for a teen. A perfect read for a Halloween night.

 

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Book Review: My Tethered Soul (Reaper’s Rite #2) by Dorothy Dreyer

MTS_Ebook_2400x1600-682x1024Synopsis:

It’s been months since Zadie faced her sister’s Reaper, months during which she’s been under her mentor’s magical protection. But now that she’s turning seventeen, that protection is about to run out.

When dark forces lure Zadie to wander at night, she’s manipulated into committing unspeakable acts. With her friends and family at risk, Zadie must try to use her powers to break free from the Reaper’s grasp, or surrender to the Reaper’s Rite, which can only lead to death.

About the Author:

Dorothy Dreyer has always believed in magic. She loves readiDorothy-Dreyerng, writing, movies, and spending time with her family and friends. Half-American and half-Filipino, Dorothy lives in Germany with her husband and two children.

  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

My Review:

This is the 2nd book in a series and you do really have to read the first to get to grips with this one. Okay, so the premise of these books are great, reapers are definitely an under-used paranormal entity in the world of books (unless you count the Dementors in Harry Potter) so big tick there. My criticism of the books is that neither strayed too far from the traditional YA formula, so it was a bit predictable and tired in that sense. Although, to be fair to the author, formulas are there for a reason and to stray too far from them would probably mean that neither publishers nor readers would get too far into the story without feeling uncomfortable – but a little liberty would have pushed the boundaries and perhaps made the books more memorable.

From a writer’s perspective, the character of Zadie was a bit of a cliche. She was consistently making bad decisions, although didn’t we all at that age! And as a heroine I couldn’t get behind her and her choices. She did get a little more worldly-wise in the 2nd book, but I still wanted to slap her a few times. That said, this is the main difference between YA and adult fiction. These books are aimed at a much younger reading audience than me, and as a reviewer I shouldn’t forget that.

The front covers are awesome – so well done to the designer. They both have a certain look of branding and are reflective of the storyline.

Overall, and to be fair, I’m going to give both books a duel score: 4 out 5 for a  teen YA read but 3 out 5 for adults who like YA books.

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